Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rockhounding trip to NM: Fluroite, Barite, Galena and more

Nice Specimen with Blue Fluorite
Usually once a year in the fall or spring my wife and I take a one week vacation doing some site-seeing and rock hounding.  Most of our rock-hounding on this trip was technically outside of the Rockies in southern New Mexico, but its still rock-hounding.  Our first stop was at a world famous mine outside of Bingham NM.  We had tried to call the caretaker of the mine several times, but our cheap cellphone kept telling us no service.  Since the site was only 30 miles east of the Interstate, we took a chance to see if they were open for business.  While it took some time to get someone to open the store, eventually the caretaker invited us in, we signed a disclaimer and followed a provided map to the mine site. This site is a fee only site, so you pay a flat rate of $10 per person to rockhound.  You may take as much as 20lbs of material per person.  This seemed like a lot of rocks at first, but when the primary minerals are Galena, Barite and Fluorite the weight adds up quickly.  The caretaker was somewhat upset by an individual who wanted to take 120lbs out the previous week even though you sign paperwork that says all you can have is 20lbs per person.  We followed the map to the mine and began exploring.  Both my wife and I looked for an hour or so til she found some bluish fluorite near a mine entrance.  It appeared that someone had done some field trimming of specimens there and there was quite a bit of debris.  We decided to go through the other person leavings and we ended up finding some nice specimens.  We guess this was from the guy who visited the previous week and tried to take out 120lbs.  This fall day the temperature was in the upper 70s and we were happy for a breeze that picked up at noon.

Here is a specimen which contains Barite and Fluorite.  There are some other yellow crystals as well.  The yellow may be some oxidation covering quartz or something else, but I'm not sure.

Below is the same specimen as above only another angle showing off the embedded green fluorite

Here is a piece of Galena

Blocked entrance to the Mine

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